Why is this family of chemicals commonly used in perfumes?
If you’ve been reading up a lot on the chemicals you should avoid at all costs in your bath, body and hair care products because of health issues then you’ve probably read about phthalates (pronounced thail-ates when sounded out). These chemicals are unhealthy because once they infiltrate your blood stream via the skin, they really interfere with your natural hormone balance.
This is because they mimic the effects of estrogens in the body. Excess estrogen can lead to a lot of health issues, including certain types of hormone-fueled cancer like breast cancer (possibly even prostate cancer too by promoting imbalance), weight gain and problems with mood and psychological health among others still being studied.
Phthalates are used as plasticizing agents, meaning that they contribute to a plastic-like hardened consistency. For this reason, they can be used in plastics, but they are also used as a stabilizer for fragrances. They help to preserve and stabilize the integrity of common (chemical laden) perfumes, many of which are top sellers on the market today.
Phthalates, like parabens, come in many different forms and the name encompasses a whole family of constituents, all of which are toxic to the human body. These include dibutyl phthalate (DBP), dimethyl phthalate (DMP), and diethyl phthalate (DEP). Any time you see these on an ingredient label, it would be safe to steer clear.
They’re used in other cosmetics and beauty products also
These chemicals are also used in other cosmetics which need to have hard or stiff results when applied to the body. These include nail polish, so that it can harden and adhere to the surface of the nail, hair sprays and other hair fixative types of products that help mold, bend and shape the hair, and other beauty and personal care products where this type of effect is desired.
I’ve been avoiding commercial perfumes and scented products for years now because of the epic proportions of chemicals they can contain. I’ve been making my own perfumes which do just fine and actually don’t make your nose wrinkle when you smell them from the “phony” smell they tend to put off.